By Harold Bubil - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The Parade of Homes design awards are just a bonus for home builders who won them.
The real victory comes in the form of increased sales and exposure. Builders of the 65 models entered in the 2013 parade reported brisk traffic at the models during the marketing event, which ends today.
"We've been slammed," said Mark Davis, sales and marketing director for Arthur Rutenberg Homes/Sam Rodgers Properties.
"Hundreds of people," said a sales associate at a Todd Johnston model in The Lake Club at Lakewood Ranch, when asked about traffic during the parade. The buyer traffic can't all be attributed to the Parade of Homes, which is presented by the Home Builders Association of Sarasota-Manatee.
Neal Communities is reporting 71 sales in January and 81 in February, and only the final week of that month was a parade week.
But one thing is clear: Many buyers are ready, willing and able to spend. And those who aren't will be back later to buy, the builders expect. And those who won design awards are counting on those "memory points" to bring those customers back to their models. The model homes were separated by price categories for the Parade of Homes design competition. The categories were divided by "judging price," an amount the HBA will not divulge. But the higher the category number, the higher the cost of the home.
Medallion Home, based in Manatee County, won the most "best overall" awards with five, all in the single-family division. Neal Communities won four "best overall" awards, including two in the condominium division. Maronda Homes, John Cannon Homes and Arthur Rutenberg Homes/Nelson Homes each won two "best overall" awards. Taylor Morrison and Minto Communities each won two awards for "green" home design.